Hanover outsprints Yellow Jackets for fifth straight

Hanover College’s football squad rolled to a 47-14 victory against Defiance College (Ohio) in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tilt, Saturday, Oct. 20, at L.S. Ayres Field.

The triumph was the fifth in a row for Hanover and raised the Panthers’ record to 5-2 overall and 5-0 in the Heartland Conference. The win also marked the program’s third in its last four meetings with Defiance, which fell to 2-6 overall and 2-4 in the HCAC with the setback.

Junior quarterback Dexter Britt (Louisville, Ky.) completed 17-of-29 passes for 210 yards and a career-best five touchdowns spread between four different receivers. Sophomore running back Spencer Corrao (New Albany, Ind.) notched his third game of the season with more than 100 rushing yards after rumbling for 121 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.

Hanover’s defensive unit allowed 402 yards, but intercepted two passes, swiped a pair of fumbles and blocked a field-goal attempt to avert a Defiance scoring opportunity.

Senior linebacker Andy Dalton (Guilford, Ind.) sparked the defense with 14 tackles, while sophomore linebacker Vince Peiffer (Trafalgar, Ind.) added a career-high nine stops. Junior lineman Ajani Jones (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.)  added seven tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

Hanover scored twice in a 24-second span to build a 14-0 first-quarter lead.

Sophomore punter Josh Green (Beaumaris, Australia) pinned Defiance at its own one-yard line with a 34-yard punt. The Panthers’ defense held the Yellow Jackets at the same spot after three plays forced a punt.

Senior Jacob Noger (Lexington, Ky.) fielded the kick at Defiance’s 42-yard line and gave Hanover a first down at the 14 with a 28-yard return. Two plays later, Corrao bounced into the end zone from 10 yards out to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead with 4:27 left in the period.

On Defiance’s next possession, Dalton picked off a first-down pass at the Yellow Jackets’ 22-yard line. On Hanover’s second play, Britt pitched a 22-yard touchdown strike to senior wide receiver Daniel Passafiume (Louisville, Ky.) to increase the lead to 14-0 with 4:03 to play in the stanza.

Defiance, which has lost three consecutive games, hit paydirt in the opening minute of the second quarter. Brian Mircovich caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Garrett Teague to pull the Yellow Jackets within 14-7.

Hanover, though, scored on its next possession to stretch the lead to 20-7. Senior receiver Colton Zeck (Galveston, Ind.) capped a two-minute, 65-yard drive, with a three-yard reception for his team-leading ninth touchdown of the season.

Defiance, again, remained within striking distance. The Yellow Jackets used an 18-play drive to pull within 20-14 on Eric Strickland’s one-yard plunge with 21 seconds left in the half.

Hanover, however, wedged its own scoring drive in the final seconds of the quarter.

A squib kick to the Hanover 37-yard line and an encroachment penalty nudged the ball to the Panthers’ 42-yard line. With fewer than five seconds on the clock, Britt connected with senior receiver Dwayne Eubanks (Mitchell, Ind.) on a 58-yard touchdown pass to stretch Hanover’s lead to 27-14 at the intermission.

The Panthers battled all challenges in the second half. The defensive unit had an interception return for a touchdown, a fumble recovery and also held Defiance on downs three times in the final 30 minutes. Led by Britt, Hanover’s offense rewarded the stingy defense to tally two additional touchdowns to put the contest out of reach.

Eubanks pulled in an off-balance catch from three yards out for a touchdown to push the Panthers ahead 34-14 with 9:20 to go in the third period.

Britt hit Noger on a five-yard scoring pass with 9:30 left in the game to bump the cushion to 40-14.

Sophomore linebacker Justin Magaw (West Palm Beach, Fla.) cradled a deflected pass and sprinted 65-yards with his first career interception for a touchdown to cap Hanover’s scoring with eight minutes remaining on the clock.

Hanover finished the outing with 372 yards of offense, including 162 on the ground. Defiance, which held the ball for nearly 38 minutes, pounded out 242 rushing yards and had 160 through the air.

Passafiume finished with six catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Eubanks had just two receptions for 61 yards, but each went for a touchdown.

Hanover vs. Defiance (Ohio) statistics